Note: I saw the rough cut of this film at the Indie Can Film Festival. This is not a review of the final cut.
I had been waiting for this movie for quite a while now, and I must say that the hype for once was well deserved.
Dillenger's Diablos is an intelligent low budget horror film that mixes in the perfect elements of witty satire and suspense. Although the movie is quite
humorous at times, I wouldn't call it a straight horror/comedy, because it is quite gruesome and frightening as well.
The audience is first treated to a leisurely paced introduction about the three naive and ambitious actors journey to the secretive set of Matt Dillenger's (Schwartz) film. As soon as we get to know and care about each and one of these characters, the plot turn and villains arrive, and the body count rapidly drops faster than it did in Wolf Creek. From then on in, it is a surprising and disturbing ride until the end credits roll.
What I loved about the movie was that it was able to make the viewers cringe and squirm in their seats without necessarily showing them every little gory detail. Don't worry, there's plenty of carnage to make any gore hound cheer, but for the more disturbing parts, the director (Canadian newcomer Mike Pereira) relied on the audience's imagination to make the viewing experience much more frightful. (In my case, it definitely worked!)
Another plus about the film was its casting. Each of the film's protagonists were all from different ethnic backgrounds, yet it didn't matter at all to the plot. They weren't cast for the sake of being a certain ethnicity. They were cast because they fit the roles. It was great to see no one playing a token white/black/Chinese etc..person. A much needed change in horror films if you ask me!
On the down side, there was a little too much exposition and it took a little longer than expected for the horror to begin. Even though the first half of the film is full of memorable dialogue and references that any horror fan would appreciate, (Loved the crack about Paul Anderson!!) it could have been cut down some and still wouldn't have jeopardized the story or characters. I would have liked to see more terror as well, because it seemed to end a lot sooner than I wanted it to. Lastly, I would have liked to know more about "Dillenger's Production Team." They were a very eclectic and terrifying group that could be furthered explained if the sequels do get made.
All in all though, even with a low budget lower than a lot of other horror indies, this movie was able to invoke the same feelings of dread and discomfort for me as more popular and expensive fan fare films such as Hostel and The Devil's Rejects did. (Especially the dissecting scene...YEESH!)